Tag Archives: Movies

The Ultimate Comic Strip

I see this mon­th’s zip­ping by, and as busy as I am, I’m just not at a point where I can post any­thing cur­rent and new yet. So instead of that, here’s some­thing old that might be of interest.

This was done while I attend­ed Art Cen­ter in Pasade­na, back in the ear­ly ’90s. Some of the specifics are lost to time now, but I had an illus­tra­tion class at the time, and for our final, we were to do a self-por­trait. The para­me­ters of the assign­ment and how you could inter­pret it were wide open.

I was­n’t sure what to do, how to approach it, and was wrack­ing my brains. Until one of my friends in the class made the off­hand com­ment, “Oh, you’ll just do yours as a com­ic, right?” It was one of those fore­head-slap­ping moments. I was too close to it to see the solu­tion myself, though it was the obvi­ous way to go in the eyes of my friends in the class who knew my inter­est in comics.

And this was the result. Though I think I draw a bit bet­ter now (I did this twen­ty years ago now?! Yeesh!), I still kind of like this. I think most artists can relate, at some point or anoth­er. Any­way, enjoy! I hope to have some new cur­rent work to post next time.

The Man from Planet X

A con­fes­sion: I like a lot of old movies. And I have a bit of a soft spot for many of the old sci-fi or mon­ster movies. Recent­ly, I had the chance to watch The Man from Plan­et X (cour­tesy of TCM and my DVR), which I’d nev­er seen before. I had only ever run across men­tions of it as a kid from time to time in library books on sci-fi films. Turned out the film was decent, but noth­ing real­ly all that special…except for one thing: the title char­ac­ter. There was some­thing real­ly strik­ing about the alien design for this film.

When you boil it down, I sup­pose there’s not all that much to it. It’s just a nice bit of sculp­tur­al design for the head and hel­met assem­bly. The thing that prob­a­bly sells the alien and makes him mem­o­rable is the built-in up-light­ing they includ­ed in his hel­met, so he car­ried “dra­ma” with him wher­ev­er he went. Oth­ers’ mileage may vary, but the visu­al was strik­ing enough to lodge in my head at least. It’s a good exam­ple of mak­ing very effec­tive use of what was prob­a­bly a lim­it­ed pro­duc­tion budget.

So here’s my shot at the Man from Plan­et X. I saw it as a chance to play around with some dra­mat­ic light­ing and black-spot­ting. It’s a bit of an exper­i­ment, in that I tried to ink it the way Mil­ton Can­iff and Noel Sick­les used to do: bang­ing in all my blacks first with a brush (scary!), then going back in with pen where it still need­ed it. I do like the whole “lost edges” effect that work­ing this way helps to achieve.

This scene did­n’t exact­ly hap­pen this way in the movie, but so what? It’s my blog, and I can draw what I want! And any­way, it seems a rea­son­ably appro­pri­ate image for Halloween.

One last thing here, a bit of triv­ia: the female lead in the film was Mar­garet Field, the moth­er of Sal­ly Field. I don’t know if any­thing like that would ever come up in a game of Triv­ial Pur­suit or not, but if so, don’t say I nev­er did any­thing for you!

UPDATE: FCA Edi­tor P.C. Hamer­linck made me aware of the fact Faw­cett had actu­al­ly pub­lished a com­ic adapt­ing this movie, with art by Kurt Schaf­fen­berg­er, and that you can check out a b/w UK reprint of it here. Inter­est­ing to see Schaf­fen­berg­er take his art in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion from what we’re used to see­ing him do, and to note that there are places in the com­ic where they diverged from the movie! Thanks Paul!

Rasputin

Cour­tesy of Turn­er Clas­sic Movies and my DVR (what a great inven­tion!), I had the chance not long ago to check out a cou­ple of old movies I’d nev­er seen before, both deal­ing with the infa­mous Rasputin. TCM played both films back to back when they aired. First on the agen­da was Rasputin and the Empress from 1932, with Lionel Bar­ry­more play­ing Rasputin (and doing a good and creepy job of it, too!). They fol­lowed that up with Christo­pher Lee play­ing the role in the 1966 Ham­mer Stu­dios film Rasputin: The Mad Monk. Lee, as usu­al, did a great job. He’s always a lot of fun to watch.

I don’t pre­tend to be any kind of an expert on the his­tor­i­cal Rasputin, so I can’t com­ment on the accu­ra­cy of either of these films. But they were fas­ci­nat­ing to watch. And obvi­ous­ly I’m not the only one who finds the char­ac­ter intrigu­ing; look­ing on IMDB, the first time some­one played Rasputin on film was back in 1917, only one year after his death. And he keeps crop­ping up as a char­ac­ter in films, to this day!

With­out try­ing for a like­ness of either Bar­ry­more or Lee (or the real Rasputin), I thought it might be fun to take a shot at a char­ac­ter draw­ing. I only meant to do one draw­ing, but then I was­n’t entire­ly sure about how it was com­ing out, so I kept going, envi­sion­ing dif­fer­ent approach­es. There’s a whole bunch of exper­i­men­ta­tion going on here, with styles, tools, col­or­ing etc. Instead of mak­ing myself crazy try­ing to decide which way to go, I thought I’d just go ahead and run them all up the flag­pole, let the chips fall where they may. And that’s prob­a­bly more than enough Rasputin for any­body in one dose!

I was a one-man meme!